Do you enjoy walking? If so, have you ever been on a pilgrimage? By this I mean walking on a journey that helps increase one's awareness of God. Often times pilgrimages can be to the 'Holy Land' or to holy places where Anglican or Catholic saints, churches and associated sacred sites (holy wells and healing streams) hold significant meaning. I have had the greatest pleasure of walking a small portion of the Camino in Spain where pilgrims of all ages seek to spend time in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela where the remains of St James the Apostle are allegedly buried.
But pilgrimages do not have to be long, far away journeys. In, fact, one can make a pilgrimage around one's own village stopping at the various places of worship or other significant buildings. During Holy Week, churches in a nearby village created a pilgrimage for folks which included scripture readings, a short reflection and a prayer related to Christ's last hours, all posted outside on the Notice Board at each church. Feedback showed this pilgrimage was very meaningful for those that participated.
It has been said about pilgrimages that the journey itself can change you. By this I understand that to mean that when we travel with more awareness of God's loving presence, we are more open to God's movement and voice. Conversations with others along the path can deepen friendships as well as shared experiences. We can appreciate God's beautiful creation even more when we marvel at his handiwork. If on our own, we can quietly reflect on how God's goodness and mercy have shaped the places we are visiting. If we are journeying with others, we can encounter the holy when we have a coffee or share a meal. If we are unable to physically go on a journey, we can still use the resources that are near us (computer, magazines, or photographs) and take a personal journey inward centring our hearts and minds on God and listening for the divine whisper. In my opinion, there is much to gain by going on a pilgrimage!
What journeys do we hope to take this summer? Even if we stay close to home, could the journey become more like a pilgrimage, recognising that God is with us as we walk, drive or simply reflect on God's grace? This past year has been filled with struggles and suffering, but also celebrations and joys. Healing and hope can be found along a pilgrimage as we walk, pray, lament, and give thanks to God. May this be so for us every time we put on our walking shoes.
Blessings for your journey,
~ Rev. Shannon
We are a small church made up of people with very broad and diverse understandings of what it means to be a Christian in the 21st Century. We are on a journey through life and we believe that an important part of that journey is working out our faith under the guidance of God's Spirit and in light of our own experience, so that we can live out the unconditional love that Jesus showed to all people.
A few words from our Minister
Hello I am Shannon, the minister here at Ben Rhydding Methodist church.
If you are visiting our website, I hope you find the information that you are looking for. If not feel free to contact me or pop in to church and visit us.
Here at Ben Rhydding you will meet a group of welcoming, open folk whose approach to the Christian tradition is one which affirms the variety and depth of our human experience and the richness of each person’s search for meaning. Consequently we invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us. As individuals we follow our own spiritual path and at Ben Rhydding we understand that these paths enable us to find relevance and meaning as we journey together.
If you are interested in exploring your faith and spiritual life with a broad thinking community you have found the right place, it is an exciting time to be in the church! As new insights and new connections emerge there are many conversations, debates and challenges to explore together. We would be delighted if you wanted to come and join us as we seek to discover what it means to be people of faith and the Christian church in the 21st century.